Presidential hopeful says Shafiq can’t run a local council

Neither Al-Azhar nor its grand sheikh, Ahmed al-Tayyeb, supports a specific candidate for the presidency, presidential hopeful Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh said Tuesday at a Journalists Syndicate conference.

Abouel Fotouh also said when presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafiq was accepted into Tayyeb's house in Luxor, the sheikh was showing no more than general hospitality, and added that Shafiq is not capable of running a local council.

While launching an initiative titled “Think for Egypt, work for it” at the syndicate, Abouel Fotouh said US aid is not charity, but based on the Western power's own interests, and that the US never does anything to seek God’s satisfaction.

Abouel Fotouh said he is not against any foreign or international party that cooperates with Egypt or offers aid without intervening in its internal affairs. He assured that his initiative aims at supporting the national spirit and gathering creative ideas for positive change.

The former Muslim Brotherhood member said he supports an initiative by Salafi preacher Mohamed Hassan to do away with US economic and military aid to shield Egypt from American influence, though Abouel Fotouh said it’s not integral.

He said Egyptians can cooperate to support their economy and that no one wants national capitalism or businessmen who don’t acknowledge their roles in society.

Hassan has proposed a fund to collect donations from Egyptians to replace US aid.

“I swear to God that the Egyptian people can in one night raise a hundred times more than the trivial US aid,” Hassan said.

The Salafi-oriented Nour Party supports the initiative.

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